Reading Together, A community-wide book club for Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Book 'Things They Carried.'
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Vietnam: Journey of the Heart 

A Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition

February 14 - April 8  

The Air Zoo (formerly known as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum) will host a traveling Smithsonian Exhibition called Vietnam: Journey of the Heart - Photographs by Geoffrey Clifford, 1985-2000. The exhibit is a stunning collection of 52 color photographs of Vietnam taken by internationally acclaimed photographer Geoffrey Clifford (author of Vietnam: The Land We Never Knew).

Ha Long Bay, 1985

Geoffrey Clifford
Clifford flew combat helicopter missions over Vietnam for two years and experienced Vietnam firsthand from the air and hidden by the chaos of war. He traveled to the country in 1985 with the first organized group of veterans to return to Vietnam and made seventeen additional trips over a five-year period to capture, through an artistic lens, the scenes of a culture and a country previously unknown to him. Supplemental text panels by John Balaban, a noted scholar of Vietnamese literature, provide descriptions of historical and cultural context.

John Balaban and Ngo Thanh Nhan
The February 20th opening of the Smithsonian exhibit at the Air Zoo will feature a performance and discussion by John Balaban, with accompaniment by Ngo Thanh Nhan on the dan tranh, the 16 string zither of Vietnam.

Balaban, a poet, translator, and conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, discovered the work of Ho Xuan Huong, an eighteenth-century poet, while in Vietnam making recordings of folk poetry. President Clinton cited Balaban's brilliant translation of her verse, Spring Essence, during his historical visit to North Vietnam. 

Ngo Thanh Nhan, a computational linguist, was the first to print the ancient script of Vietnam, Nom. Nhan was also politically active in the U.S. during the Vietnam War. His brother, who fought for Saigon, was killed in the war.

The Things We Carried: Artifacts from Local Vietnam Veterans
The Air Zoo’s education staff is also developing a complementary exhibit of things carried by local Vietnam veterans. Display cases throughout the exhibit gallery will showcase artifacts loaned and described by veterans. Air Zoo staff will collect and transcribe the stories behind each item—from medals to photos to Bibles to good luck charms—thus offering the public insight into how the Vietnam War was experienced by Kalamazoo County residents. To offer their artifacts and accompanying stories, Vietnam veterans should contact Stewart Bailey at the Air Zoo, 382-6555. 

These two exhibits will serve as the backdrop for an opening celebration and a private gathering of local veterans and their guests to meet author Tim O’Brien during his visit to Kalamazoo. The exhibits will also be open to the public during the Air Zoo’s normal business hours with the cost of admission, and Reading Together participants can pick up discounted admission coupons at any public or academic library in the county.

The Air Zoo
6151 Portage Rd,
Portage, MI 49002
Phone: 269 382-6555 or toll free, 1 866 524-7966

Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12pm-6pm
Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 10am-6pm,
Sunday, 12pm-6pm

Exhibit included in Air Zoo admission price:
adults (16-59), $19.50; seniors (60+), $17.50;
children (6-15), $15.50; children five and under are free.

The Air Zoo will offer a 50% discount coupon to be distributed with the tickets to Tim O'Brien's public talk. The coupons will be good for 50% one admission and will be valid 2/23/06 - 3/23/06.


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2005 Reading Together, "The Color of Water"2004 Reading Together, "Nickel & Dimed"2003 Reading Together, "Fahrenheit 451"